Monday, 29 October 2007

1949 Almost Complete

Now that the CUPE strike is over and the library (and its newspaper microfilm reels) is open again after three months, I am able to complete the 1949 WIL season. All I need to do is get the final stats uploaded and double-check the second-last day of action. There seems to be some confusion with two sets of box scores I've seen.

Thanks for your patience.

Tuesday, 31 July 2007

I Guess We'll Be the Braves Then

Herald Sports Editor

Although the Tri-Cites' entry in the Western International baseball loop hasn't even played a ball game in their new home, they are already the "Sweetheart of the league."
In past years every team wanted to play at Spokane in the season's opening series. But the scene that took place this year when the schedules were drawn up was quite a bit different. All the other teams, including Spokane, wanted to open in the Tri-Cities Braves stadium. In fact the debate concerning who was going to be the lucky team got so vociferous that Robert Abel, league president, decided that was only one way out. They were to draw slips out of a hat. The team whose name was drawn would get the opening date. Vancouver got it. So it will be the Braves versus the Capilanos on April 18.
As 'Babe' Hollingbery, the president of the Braves said, "It certainly feels good to be the darling of the league."
Although the W.I. is now a class B league, there is more than a good chance it will go class A for the 1951 season. This will be one of the big items on the agenda when the minor loops hold their meeting in Baltimore. Loop moguls have privately stated they believe the addition of the Tri-Cities will be enough to swing it from a B to an A.
Dick Richards, general manager of the Tri-Cities club, said that April 18 is the official opening date. Previously it had been set as April 10, but the 18 is now correct. Richards also added that the club could not continue to use the nickname of Chiefs. He said the reason was that the city of Wenatchee has the name registered with the National Baseball association. This fact, he continued, was unknown to him or the other club owners until the league's last meeting in Salem a week ago.
However, the team will continue to wear the Indian head emblem on their uniforms. This emblem is the property of the club and cannot be used by any other team in the league. Tacoma will follow Vancouver into the Tri-Cities baseball stadium, and then
on April 20 the Braves will move into Yakima for their first road game of the 1950 season. This clash will also open the home season for the Yakima club. Richards praised the cooperation of Yakima in withholding their opening date so as not to conflict with the Braves. He said this would be instrumental in assuring a large crowd for both teams at their first home stands.
The next meeting of the league will be held in the Desert Inn at Richland on Jan. 10, the general manager of the club said. At this two-day confab the league directors will approve the final schedule and elect officers. Present elected officials of the W.I. league are Robert Abel, president, and George Emigh, vice-president.
Other matters that will come before the loop directors during the Richland meeting will be legislative items resulting from the meeting of the minor leagues in Baltimore. This is the annual get together of the National Association of Professional Baseball, the governing body of all minor leagues.
-Tri-City Herald, Sunday, November 13, 1949

WIL League Meet Set For Tri-Cities

Vancouver Plays Here April 10th
SALEM, Ore., Nov. 9—Western International Baseball league directors voted last night to hold their next meeting, in January, for the election of officers, in the Tri-Cities. They also voted to keep the same admission prices during the 1950 season.
They announced that the league would open April 10, with Tacoma playing at Salem, Yakima at Wenatchee, Vancouver at Tri-Cities, and Victoria at Spokane.
The season will close Sept. 10, and each team will play about 350 games.
The directors cancelled the post-season playoffs, and adopted the Spalding Baseball as the official league ball.
They made a new rule that no club can hire more than 10 players who have been in professional baseball for three or more years.
Tacoma follows Vancouver into the Tri-Cities baseball park. After that the club takes to the road and moves into Yakima to open that city's first home game.
Arne Sanborn, station manager of radio station KPKW, said today that KPKW will broadcast all the Tri-Cities baseball games both home and away.

Monday, 30 July 2007

Tri-City In, Eugene Out

W.I. Heads Okay Transfer Of Franchise
Predict Great Future For New Baseball Team
TACOMA, Oct. 24 (UP)— The Tri-City area of Pasco, Richland and Kennewick was officially welcomed into the ranks of the Western International baseball league today.
Former approval of the present Wenatchee franchise transfer there was given as expected at a league director's meeting here yesterday after it was shown the new club was building a satisfactory ball park.
Representatives of the Tri-City area that appeared before the league directors and outlined the advantages of Western International league baseball there were Les Babcock, Harry Owens and R. F. Philip.
Babcock, president of the Tri-City Athletic association, which is building the stadium, assured the league that the park would be ready for the opening of the season in mid-April of next year.
Owens told the moguls that grass was already coming through the ground and that the fence surrounding the park was nearly complete.
R. F. Philip, president of the Scott Publishing company, outlined the tremendous future of the Tri-City area and said he believed the team located here would be one of the top clubs in the league from the stand-point of attendance.
The new entry as yet has no nickname.
League President Robert Abel said the situation of the defunct Bremerton franchise remained the same. Both Eugene and Wenatchee are after it. He said another league directors meeting would be held Nov. 7 in Salem.
Eugene is believed to have first call if it obtains a ball park.

Wenatchee May Get WIL Team
Failure To Get Eugene Stadium Sparks Hopes
TACOMA, Oct. 25 (UP)—Failure to obtain use of Eugene's civic stadium for a Western International League baseball park means that Wenatchee will probably have a team in the circuit next season, President Robert Abel said today.
Both Eugene and Wenatchee groups were after the defunct Bremerton franchise, but the Eugene school board last night turned down a request to lease its civic stadium. No other suitable facilities are available in Eugene.
Abel said there was nothing official about it as yet but that "obviously Wenatchee is the leading contender." The present Wcnatchee franchise has been transferred to the Tri-City area of Pasco, Richland and Kcnnewick. A group of Wenatchee business men opposed the transfer and are seeking to buy the Bremerton team in order to keep the city represented.
The next league meeting is scheduled for Salem, Ore., November 7.

EUGENE, Ore., Oct. 25 (UP)—The Eugene school board last night rejected the request of Frank Burrell, San Jose, Calif., to lease the Eugene civic stadium for use by a Western International League baseball club.
The school board also made it clear that the rejection applied to all professional sports.
Burrell had sought use of the stadium under a WIL franchise he had hoped to bring to Eugene.
Joe Gordon, Cleveland Indian second baseman and Eugene businessman, accompanied Burrell to the board meeting.
Burrell indicated the board's action defintltely eliminated Eugene as a possible site for WIL ball club next year.

Wilfan muses: Ah, but if only this had happened a little earlier, the Eugene Emeralds might have been in the Western International League:

Eugene After Pro Baseball
EUGENE, Ore., Dec. 8—Court approval of plans for a baseball park on a 10-acre tract cleared the way here yesterday for further efforts to bring professional baseball to Eugene.
Court approval was obtained by George Solberg, a real estate dealer. Solberg said he had a buyer for the tract.
Efforts to bring a Western International League franchise here were unsuccessful this fall because the city had no park. It was understood efforts will be made to shift a Far West League club here.

Eugene to Get Ballpark For Play in Far West
EUGENE, Ore., Dec. 16—Entry of Eugene in the Far West Baseball league came a step nearer to realization yesterday when A. A. Hadler of Sacramento, Calif., announced that he would begin construction on a $65,000 lighted baseball park here.
The decision gives Eugene an organized ball club earlier considered improbable after the school board refused to allow use of the civic stadium for organized baseball.
The former owner of the Pittsburg, Calif., club in the Class D Far West league, said Walter Nellis will be business manager of the club, taking over January 1. He has a player under consideration for the new club's hew player-manager. He also said he was negotiating with three major league clubs for working agreements.
Hadler said the Eugene entry will be an independent club if negotiations, with major league clubs fail to turn up top-grade talent.
The proposed park will seat 3,500 fans, and will be in the Bethel suburb about five minutes driving time from downtown Eugene.
Clubs now in the league are Pittsburg, Marysville, Redding and Willows in California and Klamath Falls and Medford in Oregon. Reno, Nev., is also a new entry for 1950, having recently switched from the Sunset League.
Hadler said he was considering having the Eugene club open the season on the road because of wet weather conditions in Oregon in April. He said the club will hold spring training in Arizona or Florida.

Post Season - Tuesday, Sept. 20, 1949

Wenatchee to Seek Franchise of Bremerton
TACOMA, Sept. 20—The Tri-City area of Pasco, Kennewick and Richland, will have a baseball team in the Western International League next year if it can show within 30 days it can construct a suitable ball park, league president Robert Abel said today.
Abel also announced the formal withdrawl of Bremerton from the league with Eugene, Ore., and Wenatchee immediately seeking the franchise.
Present Wenatchee operators would run the Tri-City team. The application for the franchise was presented to WIL directors by Mayor U.L. Koelker of Kennewick.
A Wenatchee group, including Mayor Arthur Pohlman, former team president Joe Brownlow, and William B. Bell, opposed shifting the team and immediately applied for the Bremerton franchise. Also seeking the Bremerton club is Frank Burrell, Jr., San Jose, Calif., who would shift it to Eugene, Ore., where he has made tentative arrangements for a stadium.
Abel told Burrell his proposal would have to be sanctioned by six of the eight board members. A decision will be reached at a later date.
The Portland Pacific Coast League club informed directors it intended to maintain a team in the league next year. The Beavers have placed the Salem Senators on the selling block. Formal notice of the "For Sale" sign on the Tacoma club was given.
The directors met in closed session here.

Baseball Field is Underway
Les Babcock, president of the Tri-City Athletic association, now building a baseball park for the Wenatchee Chiefs answered the Western International League baseball president this morning by stating that "part of the evidence of our 'good faith' is now underway directly north of the Playland ballroom." (The WIL league prexy, in Tacoma, said yesterday that the Tri-Cities must show substantially good faith before the Wenatchee Chiefs franchise can be transfered here.)
"It appears to me this is just another move on the part of certain interests that do not want to see us get organized baseball here. There is only one answer to such a move. That is whole-hearted cooperation in pushing this thing as rapidly as possible during the next 30 days so that we can remove any doubts that anyone may have concerning the ability of this area not only to support and enjoy baseball, but also to prove to the doubting Thomases that the Tri-Cities is one of the best sports centers in the country."
Public sale of stock in the athletic association will be announced either today or tomorrow, the association said. Plans now call for each of the three cities to get an equal share of thc total block of the stock so that uniform representation will be made.
Babcock also said that the organizations by laws, now being drawn up, will require that at least one member of the board of officers must be from Richland and one must be from Pasco. "This doesn't set a maximum and will give us complete area representation," he said.
"I deplore this attempt to belittle our efforts to date," Babcock continued, "but from the reports we have received of the great amount of interest in baseball from Kennewick and Pasco, this may prove to be a great thing. Now we will have an opportunity to demonstrate forcefully just how great our interest is. My feeling is that the league will some day wonder why they ever thought they needed a demonstration of 'good faith'."
- Tri-City Herald, September 20, 1949

Post-Season - Monday, Sept. 19, 1949

Protest Chiefs Move To Tri-City Area
Wenatchee Group Takes Case To Heads
TACOMA, Sept. 19—Projected transfer of the Wenatchee franchise to the Pasco-Kennewick-Richland area was expected to precipitate a lengthy debate as Western International Baseball league directors opened their annual post-season meeting here today.
Robert B. Abel, league president, said the first item of business would be the presentation of a formal request for permission to transfer the Wenatchee club, with Dick Richards and associates; present owners of the franchise, proposing to continue operation at the new location.
Before the directors take action on the petition of the Richards group, however, Abel said they would hear arguments against the move from a delegation headed by Joe Brownlow, former Wenatchee newspaperman and business manager of the Chiefs in 1947 and '48 when the club was owned by Sacramento of the Pacific Coast league.
Not until the Wenatchee situation is clarified will another proposed switch — Bremerton to Eugene, Ore. — come before the meeting, Abel explained.
In Kennewick, Les Babcock, president of the Tri-City Athletic association that is financing the construction of the baseball stadium for the new home of the Chiefs, said the move by Wenatchee came as a surprise to him.
"Naturally they are upset about losing the Chiefs," Babcock continued, "but a glance at last year's attendance records will show that the fans up there gave scant support to a team that was in the first division. It seems odd that now they should
suddenly decide that they want the Chiefs. It looks like a dog-in-the-manger attitude to me."
Dick Richards, general manager of the Chiefs, was unavailable for comment. He and Urban Keolker, mayor of Kennewick and Pat Owens are in Tacoma today to attend the league meeting. However, yesterday Owens told the Herald that work of grading and filling the new field, between Kennewick and Richland was to begin this morning. Last week the field was cleaned and stripped. Should Wenatchee succeed in preventing the move of the Chiefs, it would involve considerable financial loss to the Tri-City association, it was felt.

W.I. Franchise for Tri-Cities Gets Tentative Loop Support
Loop Leaders Give Blessing
TACOMA, Sept. 19—Transfer of the Wenatchee baseball franchise to the Pasco-Kennewick-Richland area was given the conditional blessing of the Western International league directors Monday.
Robert B. Abel, league president, said the switch will be formally approved if the Tri-City region shows "good faith in the next 30 days" toward construction of a suitable ball park.
V.L. Keolker, Kennewick mayor, presented the application for a WIL franchise in behalf of Tri-City boosters. The club, if moved, will be operated by the present Wenatchee owners, Dick Richards as associates.
On Bremerton
The directors took no action before adjournment on another procosed change that would shift the Bremerton franchise to Eugene, Ore. However, W. W. Shepherd, president and principal stockholder of the Bremerton club, notified the board he would not operate a team in that city next season.
A request for the franchise transfer to Eugene was made by Frank Burrell Jr.. of San Jose, Calif.—hinging on his success in closing a deal for the majority interest in the Bremerton club.
Will Stay In WIL
Though the Portland Beavers of the Pacific Coast league have hung the for sale sign on their WIL farm club at Salem, Portland business manager William Mulligan told the directors that the Beavers have "every intention" of operating a team in the WIL next year.
A Wenatchee group interested in retaining WIL baseball in that city, talked with individual directors but did not appear before the board. In the delegation were Mayor Arthur Philman; Collis Musson, president of the Wenatchee Junior Chamber of Commerce, and Joe Brownlow, former president and business manager of the Wenatchee club.
Abel notified the directors at their adjournment they would be on call for another meeting, probably in the near future.

WI League Turnstile Way Down
TACOMA, Sept. 19—Western International League teams played to a total of 793,996 customers during the 19-59 season, it was announced today by Robert B. Abel, president of the circuit, following the official compilation of attendance figures.
This year's turnstile total was 86,415 shy of the 880,411 count for the previous season, despite considerably better weather.
Here is a comparison of attendance figures for the eight clubs last year and 1949:
Club            1948    1949
Yakima ...... 73,600 133,917
Vancouver .. 116,722 137,611
Spokane .... 216,974 186,648
Tacoma ...... 96,200  49,673
Bremerton ... 75,195  35,440
Victoria ... 143,081 114,544
Salem ....... 77,659  67,495
Wenatchee ... 81,880  68,668

Saturday, 28 July 2007

Thursday, September 15, 1949

Vancouver Wins WIL Playoffs
VANCOUVER, B.C., Sept. 15—The Vancouver Capilanos captured the Western International league baseball playoff series tonight by whipping the Yakima Bears for the third time in a row, 8 to 3.
The playoff title gave second-place Vancouver $1,500 in prize money. Yakima won second money of $1,000 from the $4,000 play-off pool.
The Caps won the contest in the first and sixth innings. Singles by Jim Robinson, Bill Brenner and Len Tran, a sacrifice by Ray Tran and an error by shorstop Dick Briskey accounted for two runs in the first followed by a six-run barrage in the third that knocked Bear hurler Floyd Dickey off the mound.
Dickey had retired two batters when Dick Sinovic singled and scored on a homer onto Sixth Avenue by Bill Brenner. K. Chorlton singled, and Bob McLean and George Nicholas walked to fill the bases. Then Jim Robinson scored all three on a double to the left centrefield corner.
Larry Powell had no sooner taken over the mound when Ray Tran knocked a double that scored Robinson. Powell finished the game giving up three hits and striking out five.
It looked like a shut-out for Nicholas until the eighth, when the Bears snared all their three runs. Bob Williams hit his third single of the night, went to second on Sinovic's error and advanced to third on Ted Jennings' single. Babe Gammino stepped up and bashed a homer to score all three.
Nicholas tossed an eight-hitter for Vancouver, striking out six and walking three.
2,400 braved the cold wind and heavy rain to see the Caps win the best-of-five series. The rain came down hard in the second inning and lasted until the third when it stopped for good.
Yakima .......... 000 000 030—3 8 1
Vancouver ..... 206 000 00x—8 10 1
Dickey, Powell (3) and Orteig; Nicholas and Brenner.

Nenezich Says He's Through as Umpire
[Vancouver Sun, Sept. 16, 1949]
Johnny Nenezich, senior umpire in the Western International Baseball League, announced last night he was through calling balls and strikes.
The little fellow said he was tired of knocking his head against a wall in a Class B league and would call it quits next season.
Johnny will be sorely missed. He was league president Bob Abel's ace trouble-shooter, a man who could hop into a stormy series and quieten things down.
He was always colorful. He gave the grow their money's worth evry time he worked either the plate or the bases.
He also came far closer than any umpire in this league with being popular with the players.
The story goes that Johnny would have been in the Coast League umpiring years aho had he not been so friendly with the players.
There is a “non-fraternization” rule in organized baseball which prevents umpires and players from associating. Johnny, however, was always found of those who played the game and found it hard to live hard by this rule.
He will return to his home and business in Seattle.


[Vancouver Daily Province, Sept. 16, 1949]
No one bothered to sing it, but No. 1 on the Capilano ball club hit parade last night was “Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag. . .” and there were plenty of smile, smile, smiles in the dressing room after that last big one against Yakima.
There were also many serious, pensive moments as close friends of a tough year’s work shook hands, picked up their kit and departed, many to pick up the restless threads of their careers in parts unknown come next spring.
That last, hectic dressing room scene that marks the close of another season is a dramatic one in the lives of pro ball players.
For a few like, like Dick Sinovic and Vern Kindsfather, who are moving up to Seattle, and for Len Tran, who is also toward bound, it marks the end of a triumphant milestone along the glamorous way to perhaps the Big Leagues.
To others, rookies like Bob McLean and Kay Chorlton, who know that they have made good in their first try at Class “B” ball, it is a time of quiet satisfaction and the birth of bigger and better hopes for the future.
Where Do They Go?
For others, veterans like Bob Costello, Hunk Anderson, Ray Tran and Carl Gunnarson, it marks the passing of another year of youth, ambition and fading opportunity—a year less in the desperately short calendar of a pro ball player’s active life.
They—and even the youngest of the rookies—know that next year, the year after and the year after that, there will be new, eager-faced, ambitious youngsters hanging their sweatshirts on those same dressing-room hooks.
Once that dressing room bangs shut for the last time each season—where do the ball players go? What do they do when the headlines turn to the winter of athletes?
A Winter’s Work
Here is where your 1949 Caps are going, and to what.
Bill Brenner, great manager of a hustling ball club, is already back home in Olympia, Wash., taking a short breather before taking over his twin winter shore: work in a loyal brewery and sports-casting for the local radio station, Len and Ray Tran, the double-play inseparables who are now apparently parting baseball company, are heading for a quiet fishing vacation along with Wenatchee’s Cy Greenlaw. After that, Len expects to go back to his old job at Seattle’s Boeing Plant. Ray expects to work in a Seattle brick factory.
Third-sacker Jim Robinson is headed for Seattle University and a final term that will give him his high school teaching certificate. Others heading for a campus are outfielder Kay Chorlton, who will pick up his junior year physical ed course at University of Washington, and pitcher Vern Kindsfather, in Portland U and his P.E. course.
Bob McLean, lanky first first-sacker, is headed straight for New York City, his fiancĂ©, and, he “expects,” an early wedding. Also Manhattan-bound is pitcher George Nicholas—to resume his trade as clothes-cutter for a garment factory—at $100 per 35-hour week.
A Short One, Coz
Hunk Anderson is Seattle-bound, back to the driver’s seat of last year’s oil truck. Fellow hurler, Jim Hedgecock, will stick around in Vancouver and work for sports-program concessionaire Eddie Lamoreaux. Carl Gunnarson will also stay in this town. The likeable Gunner is already looking for work. He can be located for such, sez he, at 2724 Oxford Street.
Bob Costello is on his way to wife and family in Spokane, The popular beanpole expects to latch onto a job as a bartender—on the “right side of the bar,” as Coz puts it. Bob Snyder will winter in Tacoma—may go back to last year’s job as a longshoreman.
Outfielder Charlie Mead is going home to Sierra Madre, Cal., and Dick Sinovic back to Portland, but neither one as yet have winter jobs lined up. Bud Sheely is en route to Sacramento and a hitch as on a construction company’s payroll.
Last of the 1949 Caps is Sandy Robertson, rooted right here in an engineering firm.
Then there’s always spring training.